Australia captain Tim Paine not getting carried away after winning Ashes opener
Tim Paine insists Australia will remain grounded despite ending England’s stranglehold at Edgbaston after the tourists drew first blood in the 2019 Ashes with a 251-run win.
Steve Smith became only the fifth Australian to record a century in both innings of an Ashes Test as Australia set England a fanciful 398 for victory before Nathan Lyon rose to the occasion on the final day.
Australia’s premier off-spinner exploited helpful conditions to take six for 49 while paceman Pat Cummins claimed the remaining wickets as England were skittled for 146 on day five.
England had won their last 11 matches in all formats at the Birmingham venue while Australia claimed their first triumph at Warwickshire’s ground since 2001 – the last time they won the urn on English soil.
Asked if this was a statement victory, Australia captain Paine responded: “You’ve got to keep a lid on it. There’s still four Tests to go and we aren’t here to win the first Test at Edgbaston – we’re here to win the Ashes.
“We’ve been really clear on that for some time. We’re obviously happy to win the first Test. It’s a huge step in the right direction, but we’re certainly not satisfied with that.
“Tonight will be quite a different feel to most Test wins we’ve had.
“We’re over here to do something that a lot of teams from Australia have struggled to do. And we realise that if we can do it it will be spoken about for a hell of a long time, and that’s what is driving us.
“To come to England in these conditions is difficult for us as it is for England to go to Australia. There’s a big five weeks ahead of us.”
Smith’s superb innings of 144 and 142 marked a stunning return to the Test format for the former Australia captain after an absence of more than a year following a suspension for his role in the ball-tampering scandal.
Paine added: “He’s the best player in the world in Test cricket at the moment. He’s probably the best ever statistically, and while he’s at the crease I think our team’s got real confidence.
“Whilst Steve’s scoring runs and Nathan’s taking wickets, we’re a pretty dangerous cricket team and as I think you saw, the rest of us will grow with confidence the better those guys are going.”
Paine was mindful of James Anderson’s absence for the majority of the Test. England’s record wicket-taker was restricted to only four overs before going down with a calf complaint on the first morning.
He would not bowl again in the Specsavers series opener, which Paine admitted played into Australia’s hands.
Paine added: “It’s a big win for us, but they lost their premier bowler so we’ve got to be realistic about it and that’s why it’s one Test win and there’s four more huge games for us to go.”